Mary Shelly's Frankenstein

Tag Line : Be Warned

Mary Shelly's FrankensteinWell I suppose it had to happen, after Dracula had been given the 90's remake treatment somebody (in this case Kenneth Brannagh) got the bright idea of remaking the other well known classic horror tale, namely Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.

Brannagh both directs and stars as the lead character, Dr Victor Frankenstein. A young medical student who becomes fascinated with the unethical research of one of his university lecturers, Proffesor Waldman (played by British comedy actor John Cleese), who believes that living creatures can be created from dead matter.

When Waldman is inadvertently killed, Frankenstein decides to carry on the research. With a  Cholera epidemic sweeping through the city, providing an ample supply of corpses, he locks himself away in Waldman's lab and attempts to see if his research is correct. Eventually, he succeeds in creating a creature made from body parts (played by Robert DeNiro), but upon realising the true horror of the monster he has created, decides that some things are best left undone and so destroys the lab, and (he believes) the creature along with it.

Returning home, Victor Frankenstein attempts to make a normal life for himself and marry his childhood sweetheart Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter). However, as he is to soon discover, the past always has a nasty habit of catching up with you.

Whilst the film is fairly entertaining, it is unfortunately all to obvious that Brannagh was on an ego trip here, as far too much of the film appears to be focused on his (not so brilliant) acting abilities. Added to that the bizarre abstract way in which some of the scenes are shot, the inconsistencies in plot, and the monster having a New York accent, and you can see why the critics universally panned it when it came out in 1994. However, the film does manage to capture some of the spirit of the original novel, and those that enjoyed Bram Stokers Dracula will undoubtedly enjoy it also.

Overall Marks : 5/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • The film was co-produced by Francis Ford Coppola and James V. Hart who also worked on the previous "Bram Stokers Dracula" adaptation.

  • John Cleese, who has a cameo role playing professor Waldman, is probably best known for his comedy roles in films like "A Fish Called Wanda". Cult comedy fans will undoubtedly know him for his role in the comedy show "Monty Pythons Flying Circus", and as stuck-up hotel manager Basil Fawlty in "Fawlty Towers".

  • Robert DeNiro apparently studied stroke victims to get an idea of speech that was struggling to emerge.

  • Ian Holm, who plays Victor's father Baron Frankenstein, also played Ash in the original Alien. He also starred alongside Bruce Willis in the film "Fifth Element", and appeared in the 1990 remake of "Hamlet" with Mel Gibson.

  • The fluid in which the creature was brought to life was actually boiling gelatine. During the "birth" scene, Branagh and DeNiro slipped over and split the monster suit, which the camera's then had to carefully shoot around.

  • Helena Bonham Carter also appeared in the 1990 remake of Hamlet, she has also acted with Brad Pitt in "Fight Club" and with Mark Wahlberg in the 2001 remake of "Planet of the Apes".

  • If you look carefully the monsters facial scars continually change during the film. One moment his lip is split, later it has healed but has different cheek wounds. The scar tissue on the chin also changes continually.

  • Richard Briers, who plays the blind man, also appeared in Kenneth Branagh's "Much ado about Nothing" and "Henry V". He is probably best known for his role in the cult 1970's TV comedy "The Good Life". He also starred in the 2012 horror comedy "Cockney's Vs Zombies".

Extra Info.

Cast & Crew.

Buy Online.

Buy the UK DVD.

Buy the Mary Shelly novel.

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Other recommendations

Bram Stoker's Dracula


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